-text and photos by Dan Uza-

(Zicky Palace and Szentlelek Square in Obuda, Budapest)

In January 2014 I was in Budapest in a short excursion,
looking for something different from the usual tourist attractions.

The name of the Capital of the Hungarians
(who came here in the 9th century
and developed their own civilization)
is dated since 1873,
when the cities placed on the banks of the Danube River,
Obuda (or Old Buda, founded as Aquincum by Romans
as the Capital of Lower Pannonia Province),
Buda (Capital of Hungarian Kingdom since 1361)
and Pest (the former Roman fortress of Contra-Aquincum)
were united to give birth to one of the most beautiful European Capitals.

And I stayed just in the old zone, Obuda,
right in a hotel named… Aquincum.

Traces of the past are kept here especially in a small archaeological park,
where I found out a recent sundial…

… made in 1993
in the form of a section of Roman column.

At a distance of a few hundred metres, near the Arpad Bridge,
I found out a castle (palace) built by the Zicky family in the 18th century.

Now it hosts the Vasarely Museum,
named after a famous Magyar painter.

In its court a beautiful equatorial sundial,
surprising through dimensions,
was built in 1986.

Finally I photographed the Zodiac made right above
the entrance of the Szent Istvan (Saint Stephen) Basilica in Budapest.

This is even the most important Magyar church,
made to honor the first Magyar King
(who Christianized the Hungarians around the year 1000),
and was built in between 1850 and 1904,
with a height of 96 m.

Astronomically the Zodiac is a circular region of the celestial sphere,
which includes the 12 constellations where the Sun annually evolves.

A few thousand years ago,
these constellations were used to give birth
to the names of the zodiacal boxes.

Parallelly, a theory appeared,
that each person’s destiny would be influenced by these groups of stars,
people being just reflections of the Universe from above.

But astrology, or belief in stars’ influence,
was dangerous for the social life,
breaking the principle of free will
and provoking moral and philosophic troubles.

However, a few centuries after,
just the astrologers were involved in the Christian transformation:
the birth of the Saviour was accompanied by a star
observed and followed by Three Eastern Magi (readers in stars),
who came from the old zone of Babylon,
the cradle of astrology!

After all,
the church generally condemned astrology,
but tolerated the Zodiac in religious paintings
as a symbol of the time passing.


English translation and adaptation from Dan Uza's
Cercul de Stele (in Romanian) / Circle of Stars
by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
Design by Florin Alexandru Stancu
© 2014 Borealis Astroclub and SARM